"Action stations" – whatever happened to standing still and waiting for the ball?

As a young batsman, the absolute importance of standing still until the bowler released the ball was drummed into me. And more recently, as I have worked through various levels of the coach education process, the same mantra is still repeated – pick up the bat, yes, think about leading with the dipped front shoulder, but don’t move the feet too early.

It’s not easy. And when young players see the professionals twitching, shuffling their feet, and generally not standing still, it can be even harder to convince them to stick to the text-book and wait until the ball is released. So I was fascinated to read an article in the Summer issue of the ECB Coaches Association “Coaches Matter”, with Graham Thorpe, now England’s Lead Batting Coach.

Continue reading “"Action stations" – whatever happened to standing still and waiting for the ball?”

To Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox – does anyone sing?

Hardly anyone sings the Star Spangled banner, to the dismay of my companion, CC, a baseball traditionalist (who does sing)…I am a visitor, so I am forgiven. The line “the land of the free” does get the crowd cheering, but why wait so long to participate?

“They are all too uptight”, is CC’s diagnosis – “there’s no physical contact in the crowd, and no one sings until they have had a few drinks.” And, indeed, come the seventh innings stretch, many more voices join in with “Take me down to the ball game”. And by comparison with the anthem, the rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline…oh, oh, oh”, a favourite for the Red Sox fans, before the ninth is almost ecstatic.

But I had expected something else in the home of the brave, and so did CC.

“Mental disintegration” – is sledging ever justified?

I have spent more time umpiring than coaching this season. Not a conscious decision, but it seems to have worked out that way. And it has to be said that you do get a different view of the game when you are wearing the white coat. Continue reading ““Mental disintegration” – is sledging ever justified?”